Hyderabad, April 10: Blame it on YSR.
Nearly three years after his death — and months after the CBI named him as a co-conspirator in the assets case against his son — the Congress is out to trash Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy, once its blue-eyed boy in Andhra Pradesh.
One minister even alleged that the late leader helped his son Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy become the “biggest moneybag” in the state.
But it was chief minister Kiran Reddy who set the tone by refusing to give YSR any credit for the party’s success in the 2009 elections.
“YSR succeeded only because of the support of Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and other state leaders,” Reddy, who had been appointed Speaker by the former chief minister, told a public meeting in Chittoor.
The open denouncement followed last month’s landslide win for Jagan’s YSR Congress in an Assembly bypoll. In the March 18 election, Jagan’s party routed the Opposition TDP in its stronghold.
Sources said it was the trigger for the YSR bashing as the high command realised it couldn’t slam Jagan, who broke away from the Congress last year, while sparing his father. Not with by-elections to one parliamentary and 18 Assembly seats due in May or June.
The Congress, beaten in every bypoll since YSR’s death in an air crash in September 2009, is jittery since the elections have been necessitated by resignations of Jagan loyalists.
Congress Rajya Sabha MP V. Hanumantha Rao summed up the strategy, when he said YSR’s photographs should not be used for the party’s publicity material. “I had said long ago the father and the son cannot be seen in isolation,” a PTI report quoted the leader from Andhra as saying.
The government has banned installation of YSR statues by the YSR Congress.
The go-ahead to target YSR came from Ghulam Nabi Azad, the AICC leader in charge of Congress affairs in Andhra, at a weekend meeting in Delhi. “Blame YSR for the lopsided policies which have led to the downslide since 2009,” he told chief minister Reddy, state unit chief B. Satyanarayana and a host of other leaders.
Primary education minister S. Sailajanath told a public meeting in Kurnool that Jagan became the “biggest moneybag”, thanks to his father.
Medical education minister G. Murali said YSR hadn’t done anything for Dalits, while PCC chief Satyanarayana said the late leader “could not take full credit for the Congress’s victory” in the 2004 and 2009 elections.